Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is bringing back Greg for its fourth and final season, but he'll be played by Skylar Astin, rather than the original actor, Santino Fontana. The series follows the musical adventures of Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), a high flying but miserable New York lawyer who abandons her life in the city to move to West Covina, California... after discovering that her first love is there, and single. Although she denies that the move has anything to do with him, of course.
Throughout the first three seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rebecca has had a few different love interests: her first boyfriend Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), and a recent fling with colleague Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster), and Greg. Greg was a major part of her life for the first season, with the two getting into a romantic relationship (despite her love of Josh), but the end of season 1 saw Greg realize he was an alcoholic, get sober, and leave West Covina to go to school. He popped up in a few hallucinations and flashbacks early in season 2, but then fans waved goodbye to Greg, seemingly for good.
However, today TVLine reported that it was announced during the show's panel at the TCA summer press tour Greg will be returning for the fourth and final season of Crazy-Ex Girlfriend, although he'll be played by a different actor. The original Greg, Santino Fontana, will not be returning, with Pitch Perfect star Skylar Astin taking over the role. However, the change will not be glossed over when the character does return. According to Bloom, "It’ll be a great statement on how our perception of people changes."
Part of the reason for the re-cast may be simple unavailability, with Fontana currently working on Broadway. However, it would have been easy to simply keep the character out of the show, which suggests that the writers of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend actively wanted to bring in someone new to play the part. The series deals a lot with perception (especially in the musical numbers), and mental health, so it makes sense to bring back a character like Greg with a new actor to really drive home how far Rebecca has come since the first season.
Journalists who were in the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend panel at TCA have clarified the explanation for the recasting, which is explained within the series in a way to depict Greg as a "mythical figure," as stated by NPR's Linda Holmes. USA Today's Kelly Lawler added that Rebecca herself will even be noticing and commenting on the change. It's a rarity for shows to really focus on a re-casting, but Crazy Ex-Girlfriend certainly does a lot of things differently already, so this decision fits with the overall feel of the show, its occasional almost-fourth-wall-breaks, and its characters occasionally commenting on the musical numbers. And of course, now that Greg (in one form or another) is back, fans are going to be asking the big question: Will Rebecca and Greg get back together before the end?
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend returns Friday, October 12th on The CW.